A Peek Past the Red-Dirt Gates

Jan 15, 2020

Services: Desert Knowledge Precinct, DKA Solar Centre

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A map of the Desert Knowl­edge Precinct.

As part of our endeav­our to engage more with the Alice Springs pub­lic and our fol­low­ers, we would like to start the year giv­ing you some insight into the Desert Knowl­edge Precinct (DKP), which sits on 73 hectares of spec­tac­u­lar Arrernte land just behind its huge red-dirt gates on South Stu­art Highway.

The Precinct’s key part­ners, Desert Knowl­edge Aus­tralia (DKA), Batch­e­lor Insti­tute of Indige­nous Ter­tiary Edu­ca­tion and Cen­tre for Appro­pri­ate Tech­nol­o­gy (CfAT), have worked togeth­er to cre­ate a place for knowl­edge shar­ing. The part­ners share sim­i­lar goals and val­ues, and all work out of the DKP.

The Busi­ness & Inno­va­tion Cen­tre (BIC) is a sophis­ti­cat­ed office facil­i­ty set in Cen­tral Aus­tralian bush­land, and deliv­ers a wel­com­ing envi­ron­ment which encour­ages learn­ing, knowl­edge shar­ing and col­lab­o­ra­tion. DKA and its two flag­ship projects, Codes 4 Life and the Intyal­heme Cen­tre for Future Ener­gy, are locat­ed at the BIC.

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The Busi­ness & Inno­va­tion Cen­tre serves as the office space for DKA, Codes 4 Life, Intyal­heme, and oth­er ten­ant organisations.

The BIC also serves as office space for Tan­gen­tyere Coun­cil, Indige­nous Busi­ness Aus­tralia, Indige­nous Desert Alliance, Desert Sup­port Ser­vices and Ter­ri­to­ry Nat­ur­al Resource Man­age­ment. There are even con­fer­ence spaces avail­able for hire here, which made the BIC the hub for rough­ly 100 meet­ings, sem­i­nars and con­fer­ences last year.

The BIC wel­comed over 1,700 vis­i­tors in 2019, who have engaged in oppor­tu­ni­ties for com­mu­ni­ty devel­op­ment, men­tal health, edu­ca­tion, desert research, knowl­edge shar­ing, busi­ness and dig­i­tal inno­va­tion, and cre­ative workshops.

The Precinct is also home to the Desert Peo­ples Cen­tre, a joint ven­ture between Batch­e­lor Insti­tute and CfAT, which was estab­lished to cre­ate new and pro­duc­tive learning.

Batch­e­lor Insti­tute is Australia’s only Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Islander dual sec­tor ter­tiary edu­ca­tion provider. The Insti­tute admin­is­ters a main­stream edu­ca­tion sys­tem through an Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Islander lens, incor­po­rat­ing Indige­nous knowl­edges and ways of learn­ing and West­ern knowl­edges and ways of learning.

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The DKP with (clock­wise from left) CfAT, the BIC, and Batch­e­lor Institute.

CfAT is a not-for-prof­it organ­i­sa­tion which sup­ports peo­ple in region­al and remote Aus­tralia in main­tain­ing a rela­tion­ship with coun­try, by pro­vid­ing solu­tions to infra­struc­ture chal­lenges which pri­mar­i­ly include reli­able pow­er, water sup­ply, dig­i­tal con­nec­tiv­i­ty, built infra­struc­ture, train­ing and skills development.

CfAT’s vision is fur­thered by its com­mer­cial arm, Ekisti­ca, which ful­fils advi­so­ry, project devel­op­ment, engi­neer­ing design and project deliv­ery ser­vices. Ekisti­ca pro­vides pro­fes­sion­al advice and tech­ni­cal con­sul­ta­tions to clients such as nation­al and state gov­ern­ments, inter­gov­ern­men­tal agen­cies and pow­er utilities.

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Satel­lite dish­es on CfAT prop­er­ty sport­ing Arrernte and Lako­ta Sioux artwork.

The Precinct also hous­es the famed Desert Knowl­edge Aus­tralia Solar Cen­tre (DKASC), the largest mul­ti-tech­nol­o­gy solar demon­stra­tion facil­i­ty in the South­ern Hemi­sphere. The DKASC web­site pro­vides the pub­lic with qual­i­ty data about solar pow­er. These open-access reports are accessed by over 10,000 annu­al users around the world, with a base com­posed of researchers, stu­dents and oth­er mem­bers of the pub­lic inter­est­ed in study­ing and bet­ter under­stand­ing solar-relat­ed tech­nol­o­gy and envi­ron­men­tal factors.

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Aer­i­al view of the Desert Knowl­edge Precinct with the Solar Cen­tre up front.

The Precinct gates are open Mon­day to Fri­day between 7:00 am to 6:00 pm, for any­one curi­ous enough to cruise through and take a peek at the Solar Cen­tre or any of the oth­er facilities.

You could also stop by G.A.P.’s Kitchen, the Precinct café, which is sure to have some­thing to suit your fan­cy. Whether you’re in the mood for a scrump­tious lunch, or a cof­fee and baked good­ies, Gavin, Archie & Pen­ny (G.A.P.) will be delight­ed to have you drop in.

Vis­i­tors can even pre-book a tour through the Edu­tourism pro­gram and have an expert talk you through some excit­ing desert knowl­edge which com­bines ancient Abo­rig­i­nal knowl­edges with the newest STEAM research. Although the pro­gram is designed for stu­dents in Upper Pri­ma­ry, Mid­dle, Senior and Ter­tiary pro­grams, it can be tai­lored for oth­er groups on request.

Whether it’s at a com­mu­ni­ty event, an edu­ca­tion­al chat as we take you through a tour, or even a friend­ly wave as you pass through the Precinct, DKA is look­ing for­ward to see­ing you all this year. The team wish­es you a pros­per­ous 2020!

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